We have been lucky enough to witness some real magic, the wizards at work here are Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado and Sebastião Salgado. Salgado is a photographer and he began Instituto Terra together with his wife with a powerful determination to bring back the vibrant life that once existed in Minas Gerais, a town in Brazil.
On his return from a morbid task, reporting of the widespread genocide in Rwanda, Salgado was completely devastated. He dreamed of returning to cure his soul with what he once remembered as a lovely landscape with green trees and wide animal diversity. It was just horrendous what he saw -a dry patch of soil with few trees. Salgado and his wife took the first step to replant trees and get other people to also replant trees. They raised resources and founded the institute in 1998. More than 2.7 million trees were planted, and the outcome tells us one thing.
When the famous Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado took over family property in Minas Gerais state, instead of the tropical paradise he remembered as a kid, he discovered the trees cut down and the wildlife was gone.
He was devastated. It was 1994, and he had just come back from a traumatic task reporting on the Rwandan genocide. The wife of Salgado, Lélia Deluiz Wanick Salgado, thought of replanting the forest. All the insects and birds and fish began to return when they started. Salgado and his family recruited partners, raised funds, and set up the Instituto Terra in April 1998, and have now planted more than two million trees, transforming the environment completely.
At the Bulcão Farm in Aimorés, Minas Gerais, the Instituto Terra committed itself to the restoration of 1,502 acres of rainforest. The farm was completely devastated when it was awarded the Private Natural Heritage Reserve (PNHR) title in 1998. Initially, the old cattle ranch covered 1,740 acres. The first planting took place in December 1999, and since then, year after year, with the support of essential partners, it has been possible to plant more than two million seedlings of more than 290 species of trees, recreating a forest of arboreal and shrub species native to the Atlantic Forest.
From the time the Instituto Terra was established, Lélia Deluiz Wanick and Sebastião Salgado saw the Institute as a beacon to raise awareness of the pressing need to restore and preserve forest land. The Instituto Terra established the Center for Environmental Education and Restauration (CERA) on 19 February 2002, recognizing education and research as critical elements of this approach.
New techniques are shared through CERA, bringing fresh light to current development models. The goal is to engage fresh participants in the struggle for sustainable development. By December 2012, over 700 instructional projects were created, encompassing 65,000 individuals in more than 170 municipalities in the Doce River Valley, covering both Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais states. Some projects have reached the Bahia and Rio de Janeiro countries.